September 22, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. – Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University presided over the opening ceremony for the advanced technological learning project by means of the ‘Metaverse Experience’, a project run by KKU Library. KKU is among the first universities in Thailand to introduce the metaverse experience or a supporting tool for learning that will inspire students, staff members and even the public to acquire knowledge.
Metaverse is a digital virtual world that, when fully developed, will be a place where people can interact as if there is another entity in the digital world. It has been predicted that in the future, people will be living in two worlds equally. Access to life in the metaverse can be done through Virtual Reality (VR), which, at present, is something being competed by leading technological companies such as Facebook, Google, Tencent, or Microsoft, in terms of the technologies that will increase the convenience of users. In the meantime, the virtual world and its ecosystem are being developed for readiness to enter the metaverse in the close future.
Khon Kaen University as the Learning Center for All is aware of the quick changes in technologies or the technological disruption that will lead towards the transforming of the lifestyles of people in the near future, especially the development towards the metaverse. KKU Library has therefore come up with the project that promotes learning through metaverse experience. Under the project, VR Headsets are procured in order to enable users to have contact in the virtual world. The device is a bridge that spans the gap between the real and the virtual worlds. The VR Headsets will be ready for students and staff members as well as the public to use in October this year. The library will be among the first in Thailand that sees the importance of such an advanced technology. The device will allow users to have access to new technologies and platforms that are of interest and that may become the technologies that change the world and lifestyles of us in the near future.
Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University explained that Khon Kaen University has a policy to support learning through Metaverse experience as follows: “Metaverse is something Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO mentioned not long ago that Facebook will change to a Metaverse company. We have heard about VR for some time. But now when Metaverse comes into pass, Metaverse will gain its popularity rapidly and will be useful in many aspects, including communication, social media and connection of all people in the world to be at the same virtual world. The technology will also take its roles in entertainment and instruction. I believe that metaverse and VR are the new technologies of the near-future world. Khon Kaen University by the Library has procured the equipment for VR-based learning for students and staff. We are among the first in the country to be using this. When started, students and researchers in KKU should have a chance to develop the thing they are doing and will be able to utilize it for benefits in innovations, instruction, entertainment, and development of channels for future communication.”
Assoc. Prof, Supat Sinawat, M.D., Director of Khon Kaen University Library said, “The Library is aware of the importance in opportunity building and enhancing a learning atmosphere by means of modern technologies in order to prepare the readiness of KKU people to catch up with the changing world.”
The Metaverse Experience project has been ongoing with academic information support from Asst. Prof. Witcha Fuangchan, Ph.D., an expert in VR technology from the Department of Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Khon Kaen University. With his support, VR headsets have been acquired. These headsets are easy to use. They enable uploading of various educational apps that will increase learning experiences such as the app that helps the students of the health science fields to learn and understand human atomy efficiently, for the metaverse experience will provide the 3-dimension perspective for them.
Assoc. Prof, Supat Sinawat, M.D., added, “For high coverage for the use of this advanced technology, the Library will provide the VR headsets at the main library and at the 13 library branches on campus.”
“I am grateful to KKU President for the support to the Library to use this equipment and serve the students, staff, and the public in this respect. We are pleased to invite everyone to experience the new learning platform with the ‘Metaverse Experience’, which is available at all libraries in Khon Kaen University from October, 2021 on.”
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Photos: Nitiya Sriworadepaisan and Akrima Summat